Friday Fox Follies – A Shakespearean Festival

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The death of Ben Bradlee got me thinking about what passes for the sorry state of journalism these days. Watergate reporting may have been the high-water mark, but that should also remind us that Richard Nixon’s media architect was Roger Ailes, current president of the Fox “News” Channel, the low water mark.

When a lone gunman attacked Canada’s Parliament Hill, the difference between Canadian news and what passes for news in this country was put into stark relief. [FULL DISCLOSURE: 1). I’m Canadian; 2). I worked a decade in Canadian tee vee news as a News Writer at Citytv.] Disappointed in the cable news coverage, I dialed up the reliable, steady, reassuring voice of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on my computer. I wasn’t the only one. Within hours of the shooting, James West at Mother Jones noted Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame:

The broadcast was deliberative and deferential to the facts even when they were sparse. Exacting and painstaking, but never slow or boring, Mansbridge weighed the credibility of every detail, constantly framing and reframing what we knew and, most crucially, how we knew it. He literally spoke the news as it happened, using his experience not to opine nor fill the gaps in his knowledge, but to provide the necessary support for his team’s reporting.


No newscast, especially live news, is immune to mistakes, and during the initial haze of leads and counter-leads, it’s easy to point fingers. But for the six-some hours of CBC broadcasting I watched off-and-on (mostly on) today, I never once felt lost in the wall-to-wall speculation that has characterized so many recent breaking news broadcasts in the United States.

Contrast that with:

Bill O’Reilly Fearmongers Canadian Shootings

Bill-O: Canadian Terrorists Are Coming For You! But I’m Not Fear-Mongering!

Right-Wing Media Politicize Canadian Parliament Shooting To Attack Gun Safety Measures

Those Foxy Friends from Fox & Friends spent the following morning fear-mongering about terrorism, attacking the president over terrorism, and calling sensible gun laws “draconian.” In other words, just another morning on the Curvy Couch. Watch:

There was a lovely bit of synchronicity arising out of two Mediaite stories. In NBC’s Chuck Todd: Fox News Has ‘Obsession’ with Media Bias, the Toddster calls out the Fox “News” Channel’s obsession with media bias:

I think their obsession with always — I think it’s amusing to me, their obsession with trying to make everything about media bias. Whatever story, whatever angle, whatever stories is out there, there’s always some sort of supposed media-bias angle to it. And I’m like, “Aren’t they the number one media — news media outlet on cable?” So my concern, frankly, is less about the media organizations and more about the groupthink that’s taking place with the populace.

Wasting no time to prove Todd right, another article asks the musical question: Bolling: At Least Fox Has Liberals, Where’s the Conservatives on MSNBC?

Kimberly Guilfoyle said, “If it weren’t for Fox News, it would just be complete groupthink mainstream media.”

Here’s the punchline: A recent Pew Study empirically proved groupthink drives the Fox audience of elderly shut-ins. Salon‘s Luke Brinker describes Americans’ scary media habits: New study surveys our polarized news landscape:

Particularly striking, though, are the sharp differences between liberals and conservatives in how they gather news. Consistent liberals draw from a broader array of sources, Pew finds. Fifteen percent say that CNN is their primary source of government and political news, followed by NPR (13 percent), MSNBC (12 percent), the New York Times (10 percent) and local TV (5 percent). But by a whopping 36 point margin, conservatives name Fox as their main source. Forty seven percent picked Roger Ailes’ conservative propaganda apparatus, which was followed by local radio (11 percent), local TV (5 percent), local newspapers (3 percent), and the aggregator Google News (3 percent).

There are three main reasons Fox is obsessed over media bias: 1). The best defense is a good offense; 2). It knows its audience buys the groupthink; 3): Fox “News” has the thinnest skin in the media empire since Jack Parr.

The Thin Skin Alert™ will be a reoccurring Friday Fox Follies segment. Over time we intend to prove the following thesis:

  • The thinness of the skin of all Fox personalities put together is diametrically opposed to its outsized and undeserved ratings.

For now The Five Responds to Chuck Todd’s Fox Swipe: We’re ‘Fighting Bias’ and Fox News Attacks Chuck Todd For Calling Out Fox’s Media Bias “Obsession” In Media Matters Interview will suffice.

Speaking of thin skin, to say nothing of his lily White skin, ever since Bill O’Reilly sparred with Jon Stewart over White Privilege, he’s been a one-man WHITEwash Squad in a furious attempt to prove White Privilege is a Liberal-instigated myth designed to keep the Black man down, or something.

He came back to the topic again and again. First Bill O’Reilly Fact-Checks Jon Stewart on White Privilege, then O’Reilly on Stewart Debate: Pushing White Privilege ‘Creates Victimization.’ Thoughtful articles like O’Reilly Denies White Privilege Benefit From Growing Up In Whites-Only Levittown and The Bill O’Reilly/Jon Stewart Brouhaha: Denial Is a River in the Right-Wing Mind didn’t dissuade him.

Consequently, the only appropriate response to his nonsense is ridicule: Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly jumps shark in rebutting Jon Stewart on race. And, trust me, there’s nothing more ridiculous than Meghan McCain Says She Broke Up with a Boyfriend over Bill O’Reilly. More poor judgement from that family.

Fox “News” is never as precious as when it’s riding to the defense of an omnipotent Deity:

Yet, it’s only one denomination that’s ever defended. Muslims are attacked, Atheists are smeared, and Jews are forgotten, ‘cept for vociferously defending Israel, but only because of its importance for the end times.

Are you Rapture ready?

The play might not be the thing after all: Australian David Williamson is the Playwright Behind Rupert Murdoch Play: Actors ‘Scared’ of Playing Him. Rupert, which debuted in 2013, will star American actor James Cromwell in a revival in Australia, site of Murdoch’s earliest successes after he inherited the company in 1952.

However, the play won’t come to London’s West End if Williamson is unable to find a name actor brave enough to play a media baron. What’s the problem? Murdoch could crush an actor with a single word to his newspapers, tee vee stations, and movie companies. Who wants to play Rupert Murdoch?

Rupert owes more to Shakespeare’s Richard III than recent events in London, Williamson says.

“Richard was someone who through boldness, opportunism, intelligence and charm gets to be king.”

“Rupert starts with a failing Adelaide newspaper and becomes the most powerful voice in the English-speaking world.”

More’s the pity.

Headly Westerfield was fascinated by Richard Nixon long before Watergate, which is why he skipped college to watch the hearings live. Since then he’s written about the topic, including breaking the story Did Roger Ailes Dupe James Rosen, Or Did Rosen Dupe ‘Merka? at the Not Now Silly Newsroom.

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